Refugees

NPR's Tom Gjelten on America's Immigration Story

Jan 21, 2016
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Longtime NPR foreign correspondent Tom Gjelten writes that for most of our history, immigration law favored Europeans. But with the 1965 Immigration Act, the door was opened for people from all corners of the world, ushering in transformation, tensions and a new debate over what it means to be American.

Ted Siefer

Manchester has become an increasingly diverse city in recent years, due in large part to an influx of refugees and immigrants. The political leadership of the city, however, has so far barely reflected its changing demographics.

This changed in small measure last month, when a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo was elected to the city’s school board. Mary Ngwanda Georges is also the first African immigrant elected to municipal office in New Hampshire.

Syrian Revolution Memory Project / Flickr/CC

Following the Paris Attacks, many politicians including in New Hampshire, are calling for a pause on Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to the U.S.  This has led to a huge conversation - about American values, where the real risks are, and what the next steps should be.

    

Guests:

FILE

Both of New Hampshire’s Congressional representatives voted Thursday in favor of a bill to add extra screening steps for refugees resettling the United States from Syria and Iraq.

Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat, was one of 47 members of her party who sided with 242 Republicans to pass the bill.

As many leading conservatives call for stopping Syrian refugees from entering the United States, several evangelical Christian organizations are pushing back.

Since last week's attacks in Paris, at least 30 governors in this country, mostly Republicans, have called for keeping Syrian refugees out of the U.S.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Governor Hassan’s stance on Syrian refugees aims to be calibrated.

Unlike some Governors, Hassan isn’t presuming to tell Washington New Hampshire won’t accept refugees.

And unlike others, she’s not accusing leaders who want to stop taking refugees of fear mongering.

Instead, Hassan is plotting, what, right now, is a lonely course: trying to explain, if not sell, something resembling a middle ground.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan is defending her call for the U.S. government to stop accepting refugees from Syria. 

Hassan is the only democratic among the 30 U.S governors opposing current U.S. policy on Syrian refugee resettlement.

She says calling for "a pause" in  Syrian refugee resettlement in light of the Paris attacks is consistent with she called the first job of government, protecting the people.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In the wake of the attacks in Paris, Sen. Kelly Ayotte is among the political leaders here in the Granite State pushing back against President Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees.

"Well, we’re certainly a compassionate nation, but national security has to come first," Ayotte told NHPR's Morning Edition.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In a statement, Governor Hassan said U.S. intelligence and defense officials need to assure that the process for vetting refugees is "as strong as possible."

Until that happens, says Hassan,  "the federal government should halt acceptance of refugees from Syria." 

Senator Kelly Ayotte also says no refugees should be allowed into the country until the government can "100 percent guarantee" they are not affiliated with the Islamic State.

OZinOH via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4iiMnW

The US says it will open its doors to at least 10,000 refugees fleeing turmoil in Syria, but that doesn’t mean open arms. Today, we’ll learn about the detention process that keeps asylum seekers behind bars for months – even years – in hidden facilities across the country. Plus, a look at the upcoming lineup for this weekend’s New Hampshire Film Festival – including a documentary about the Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley debates that turned televised political debates into blood sport. 

Syrian Refugee Crisis: N.H. Reacts

Sep 15, 2015
DFID - UK Department for International Development / Flickr/CC

As migrants from Syria and other countries pour into Europe, President Obama says the United States will take ten thousand. And so Americans are watching and considering our own capacity to take in refugees, and other ways to address the root problems that are driving so many people out their home countries.

GUESTS:

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The late June morning grows warmer as seven refugee farmers till their new plots at Lewis Farm in Concord. This is the second "incubator" farm established by the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, or ORIS. After the success of their first location, the organization established another to meet the interest of their clients.

Jack Rodolico

New immigrants often face an unexpected challenge: how to navigate away from an American diet that takes a toll on your health? That’s becoming easier in New Hampshire due to a network of markets and farms that carry familiar foods for the state’s foreign residents.

New Hampshire is home to a small but growing immigrant population; about one in 20 Granite Staters are foreign born. And there’s an experience that unites many of them: that bewildering first visit to an American grocery store.

laconiamulticulturalfestival.org

The 13th annual Laconia Multicultural Festival will be held Saturday.

David Stamps is one of the event’s organizers and says it has grown to include more than 80 vendors and two music stages.

But he says it also hasn’t gotten away from its roots.

“We have a lot of nonprofits who participate. We have a lot of refugees, first Americans, and many Franco-Americans. It’s just such a variety.”

The downtown festival runs from 10 to 4 and opens with a Parade of Flags.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

A new program helps refugees earn money by training stay-at-home moms to be entrepreneurs in the child care industry.


Bhutanese Community of N.H.

In November, a Bhutanese refugee living in Concord killed himself. Nationally, Bhutanese refugees have the highest suicide rate of any refugee population. And here in New Hampshire, where nearly 2,000 Bhutanese refugees have resettled in the last six years, the community is scrambling to answer the questions ‘why does this happen?’ and ‘how do we prevent it?’


acuoptimist / Flickr Creative Commons

A new documentary by New Hampshire filmmaker Doria Bramante follows exiles from the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan as they abandon their twenty-year effort to return home from Nepalese refugee camps and decide to seek a new life in America. Many of these refugees have resettled in the New Hampshire cities of Concord, Manchester, and Laconia. Today we take a look at their incredible journey…along with the challenges and successes of starting over in the Granite State.

GUESTS:

Refugee Documentary Screens In Concord

Nov 4, 2013

An independent documentary produced and directed by two Durham residents chronicles the journey of three refugee families, from their home country of Bhutan to resettlement here in New Hampshire.

The documentary, The Refugees of Shangri-Law, follows the long journey of three families, from the mountains of Nepal to the neighborhoods of the Granite State.

“There was never a strong emphasis on resettlement here in Nepal. It’s no longer that way.” ... Montage of interviews... “That’s why we want to go to America.”

It may be the largest war in the world that we don’t hear about. The death toll of what is now called the Great War of Africa likely stretches into the millions.

Hank Osborne / Lutheran Social Services

Lawmakers and members of the public met in Concord today to learn more about refugee resettlement efforts in New Hampshire. The breakfast gathering was organized by Lutheran Social Services, a non-profit that offers new refugees a range of services including short-term housing and English-language training.

Steve Duprey, a prominent real estate developer, helped launch a work-skills program in conjunction with Lutheran Social Services for new arrivals. He says it is one of the best moves he’s made in business.

For the past few years they’ve been our state’s largest incoming refugee group with hundreds coming every year.  A new documentary explores their journeys from nearly twenty years in refugee camps to new lives in the Granite State. We’ll hear their stories, their challenges and hopes for a new life in America. 

Guests

Manchester resident Beatrice Munyenyezi goes on trial on charges she lied about her involvement in the Rwandan genocide to come to the United States and obtain US citizenship.

If that sounds familiar, that's because Munyenyezi was on trial earlier this year on the same charges, but the jury couldn't agree on a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial.

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

A rally was held in Concord today in reaction to racist graffiti discovered last weekend on the home of Somali refugees in the city’s South End. The crime is being linked to last September’s unsolved incident when three homes were targeted in the same neighborhood.  

By noon, about a hundred people had gathered on Thompson street in Concord’s South End.

Ten minutes later, the number had doubled.

Photo by the Concord Police Department

Concord’s mayor Jim Bouley says the city isn’t going to tolerate hate crime against its refugee residents. On Sunday morning, a racist message written in black permanent marker appeared on the house of a Somali family in the city’s South End. Bouley stopped by NHPR to talk about this latest incident, which was nearly identical to graffiti that appeared on three refugee homes last fall.

As part of our year-long series on New Hampshire's Immigration Story, we've looked at what it's like for a refugee to arrive in New Hampshire, speaking a different language, and having to learn new customs.

For young refugees who enroll in New Hampshire schools, the challenges can be even greater - and the same goes for teachers working with them.

jozecuervo via Flickr Creative Commons

Every group that has arrived here has experienced some conflict – whether between newcomers and long-time residents…or, within new immigrant groups themselves.  As part of our series on New Hampshire’s Immigration Story, we’ll look at what difficulties tend to come up, again and again – also, how different people draw the lines between assimilation and maintaining their culture. 

 

Guests: 

Refugees Start Fresh on the Farm

May 22, 2012
Todd Bookman/NHPR

As a farmer in Bhutan, Laxmi Narayan Mishre provided food and stability for his family.

But when ethnic tensions flared in the small Himalayan country, his land was seized.

With his wife and ten children, Mishre would spend the next two decades living in a cramped refugee camp in neighboring Nepal. Rumors swirled about a possible resettlement to America, and what life would be like here.

North Country representatives split along party lines in voting Tuesday on a bill that would allow towns and cities to have a one-year moratorium on having refugees settle in their jurisdictions.

Seven were in favor. Seven against. Two were excused from voting.

As NHPR has reported the bill previously passed the House but had trouble when it reached the Senate.

The Associated Press is reporting the bill was revived:

Sam Evans-Brown

 

A senate committee has voted to send a bill that would allow communities to ask for a one year moratorium on refugee resettlement for further study.

The committee voted 3-1 to refer the bill to interim study, with Senator David Boutin from Hooksett dissenting. That vote is a polite way of asking the full senate to let the measure die quietly.

Committee Chair Senator Jack Barnes says he doesn’t think the state legislature has the authority to pass this bill.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

A bill that would allow communities to ask for a one-year moratorium on refugee resettlement has made it to a Senate Committee, but critics of the bill are piling up.

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